Pet Peeves in Romance Books

Don’t you just hate it when… 

Angry

A while ago, Nell Iris wrote a post about one of her pet peeves – shower sex. I can’t say it’s a pet peeve of mine, though every time there is such a scene in a book, I sigh a little. It’s not practical. You may snort, go ahead, and I know writing romance isn’t about being practical, but have you ever had sex in a shower? Slippery floors. A husband that’s 11 inches or so taller than me. Lack of things to hold on to. No. But I wouldn’t list it as a pet peeve as such. 

I do, however, have quite a few. Let’s start with stylistic ones, shall we? I have two. Probably more, but two that on several occasions have made me DNF books. 

The Older Man

Epithets – I just can’t, sorry. If you have a smaller man who looks at the younger man before going into the office to tell his boss about the blue-eyed man who came in to ask if the secretary wanted to grab a cup of coffee during work hours, then I’ll close your book right there. Names, please. I’m fine with an older man smiling at him as long as the older man hasn’t been given a name yet. The first time his name is mentioned,  stick with it. 

I don’t care if he wants to see his boyfriend, kiss his lover, blow his boss. If they have names, they have names. 

He Said

Speech tags – here moderation is key. I won’t quit a book if there is one or two ‘he said’ and you may even find a ‘he whispered’ or ‘she hissed through gritted teeth’ or whatever in one of my stories. There will be very, very few (none) said, asked, or replied, though. I don’t think I’ve included one since I grew enough balls to say no to an editor. My current one has never suggested a speech tag in the 21 stories we’ve worked on, never – I love her. 

So as long as you keep it one or so per page, I won’t growl, skim, quit your story. If there is an ‘X said’ as soon as someone speaks, we’re gonna have a problem. I won’t tell you, or anyone (unless it really, really annoys me) but I probably won’t buy your books in the future either. Yeah, I’m prickly like that. 

  

Okay, onto plot-related peeves. I already feel a bit like a bitch, so maybe I shouldn’t LOL 

I Can’t Believe I Was That Stupid…

Character talking to themselves – Inner monologue is great! I love a good inner monologue. A character talking to themselves when alone – it’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s insane. If it so happens that they blab some secret and someone else is listening we’re getting awfully close to that DNF. 

Ha Ha, Look At Him

Public humiliation – You might call it a practical joke, and the term would be correct, but it’s no fucking joke. Purposely making someone appear foolish is so off-putting in my world, that I might never be able to forgive you if you have it in your story. So when the best friend talks the new boyfriend into stripping and then have the whole gang of friends laughing at him, you’ve lost me (yes, it was a scene in a book that ruined the entire story for me LOL).  

Look At Them Go

This next one is a bit hard to explain. I could call it voyeurism, maybe, though not really, but… sex with an audience? Especially when it’s like a cultural difference in paranormal romance or sci-fi romance so one of the characters is embarrassed and the other doesn’t get what possibly could upset them. Say the character is abducted by aliens and in their culture, it’s fine, or even expected, to have sex with your partner while there are others around. I just can’t. And I guess it has to do with sexual preferences, maybe. It’s just… I don’t find it hot, not in the least. I cringe. 

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall… 

This usually is over quite quickly, so I might endure, but… Don’t make the character look at himself in the mirror and describe his looks. I’m fine with a ‘the shirt brought out the blue in his eyes’ but when we’re getting to the ‘he looked at his brown curly hair, crooked nose, and wide mouth and sighed, wishing his lips had been a little fuller and that his teeth had been straighter’ we’re getting close to having a problem. If the character’s looks aren’t of importance to the story, leave him be. I know some of you will protest this because you want to know everything there is to know about your character, but steer clear of mirrors. Please.  

“Shh, It’ll Be Better Next Time, I Promise…”  

This one is rare, thank heavens, but when it shows up… throwing book against the wall. Virginity. To begin with, I often quit books as soon as I read that the character is a virgin – that’s on me, I don’t blame anyone for writing virgin characters, I know lots of pervs out there get off on it, but I don’t want to be a part of it. But say I should continue to read. Maybe I like the characters or something in the plot has me hooked, and I think I’ll survive this. I’ll survive an awkward, embarrassing sex scene – I can always skip a few pages, right? If there is pain involved with losing the virginity, I quit. I don’t mean ‘a burning stretch’ or a ‘hiss as he slid all the way in’. I’m talking slicing, bleeding, pain. And you might not think it’s possible, but I’ve read M/M books where they have penetrative sex and the writer has given the poor guy a hymen. Get real! If you’re gonna write a sex scene but never had had sex, do some effing research. I mean this bugs the hell out of me even in M/F stories, in M/M… *eye roll*  

BeaverI think I’m gonna leave it at that or I might step on too many toes. I mean, I like writing fated mate stories, and that pisses off a lot of people, so… One shouldn’t throw beavers in wooden houses LOL 

Update | Haunted by Deadlines

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Right now, it feels like maybe, just maybe, I’ve taken on more than I can handle. The deadlines are coming closer and closer with each day passing, and my workload at the day job is increasing. We also got it confirmed that my son has dyslexia last week, so lots of school contacts and such.

Him being dyslexic is nothing we’re surprised by. I’m dyslexic. By the time you’re reading this, I’ve first written it, then read it, then ran it through Grammarly, then listen to it, sometimes twice, and yet I’m sure you can find a typo or a missing word somewhere.

What saddens me is that I know he’ll have a hard time in the coming years as the workload in school increases. As an adult, I’ve learned my strategies, I’ve learned what works for me, and while hubby sometimes might have a hard time decipher my handwritten notes, I do all right on a computer (at least in comparison LOL). My son has a lot of hard work ahead of him figuring out what works for him, and I wish I could spare him having to work through it.

But, this post, was supposed to be about what’s going on writing-wise and nothing else. I’m working on two stories at the time, both will be Holly Day stories, and I hope I’ll soon be begging my beta readers for feedback.

I’ve written 97.290 words so far during 2021, and according to my tracker that leaves me 39% done with my goal of writing 250.000 words. So I think, I’m doing pretty well. I just need a couple of weeks with no obligations, a maid, and food deliveries to make my deadlines LOL

The plan is to write the third Rockshade story next, but… If I’m gonna write any holiday stories this year, I need to start planning for those too.

There are so many stories and so little time. Do all authors feel that way? I guess they do. There are always ideas, always scenes playing out in my head. They might not turn out anything in the stories like they are in my head, but there is a constant flow of scenarios. A pleasant problem, I guess. Except I get frustrated when I don’t have time to write them.

Ah well, we’ll see how far I’ve come next month.

What the Heck Do Authors Do?

Pen

Have you ever wondered what an author does all day? This is not meant to be a post where I’m whining – I love what I do – but I often have the feeling a general reader doesn’t have a clue how much time and effort we put into everything.

I am so in awe of all the authors out there who do what I do while working full time. I only work part-time and there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to be on top of everything. All you writers out there who make this work on top of a day job, I applaud you. You are amazing!

So what do I do?

Every day I’m not working – yes, every day, weekends too – I put the alarm on 05:40 and stumble out of bed. Actually, I put the alarm on 05:40 on the days I’m working too. On days I’m not working, I zombie-walk down the stairs and put on the coffee maker. At 06:00, (often 06:03 because I’m waiting for my coffee to drip down) I log into the morning office where I say good morning (and good evening to those in a different time zone) to Nell Iris, A.L. Lester, and J.M. Snyder.

We work together, each on their project, for three hours. At 09:00, my time, we put the pens down (only Nell writes with an actual pen) and say goodbye. Then starts the work I don’t think most people understand.

If you’re a reader who doesn’t only buy books when you see something you think you’ll enjoy but want to follow the authors you like, then you see us post something now and then. You might even interact with us (we love you for that! LOL).

Then you have five minutes to kill and you hop on another platform, and there we are again, a different post, posted at a different time. You scroll past it, maybe like it if it speaks to you, but it fades into the background, and it’s not something you’ll think of again.

I’m not complaining, not really. No one is forcing me to post anywhere, but if you don’t see my name pop up now and then, you’ll forget I exist. And if you don’t know I exist, you won’t read my books.

Writing is a small part of being an author 

  • I blog – This might be my favourite thing to do other than writing stories. I like blogging, but it takes time. I try to write at least one post a week, preferably more, and I try to have at least one guest a week both because I want to help you find new stories to read and because I want to help my colleagues out by giving them a little room. 
  • I post on Facebook – Ah, Facebook… I’ll let you in on a little secret. I detest Facebook, but everyone is on there. If you want to connect with the writer community or the M/M community, Facebook is as close to a must as you’ll come. So I’m on Facebook. I post on my page every day – that’s 365 posts a year I have to come up with. I have a group that I sadly tend to forget. In there I post 1-2 times a week maybe. I’ll do better there, I promise. And I have my profile where I mostly share other people’s stuff or stuff from my page. 
  • I pin stuff on Pinterest – I love Pinterest! Pinterest is my kind of platform. I have boards with everything M/M Romance. I pin the books I read and the guests I’m having. I’ve scaled down a little. I ‘only’ pin 4 times a day. I used to do 5-6, but it’s a lot of work to create pins and set everything up. Still, Pinterest probably is my favourite platform.
  • I post on InstagramInstagram is nice. I post once a day, mostly about the books I read, my guests’ books, and my books. I like making Instagram posts, but it too takes time. 
  • I’m on Goodreads – I have to admit I don’t do much on Goodreads. I share my blog posts, but nowadays I only add my books and like reviews. I used to review the books I read, but it takes too much time. 
  • I’m on Bookbub – Same as Goodreads. I started reviewing books, but there only are 24 hours in a day, so I’ve just let it drop. I check the reviews of my books now and then. 
  • I’m on Booksprout – ARCs. When I have a new book out, I put it on Booksprout. It’s not a platform that takes a lot of time, but it does take some time. I add the information, I upload files and covers, I set a date when I want the ARC readers to leave their reviews, and then I have to log on again to send out reminder emails.
  • I have a newsletter – Now I send a letter on the first every month. I used to send one whenever I had a release, but then I thought the world was too chaotic, so I needed order and decided the first each month would be Newsletter Day. Now, I don’t know. I’m thinking about changing it again. But yeah, a newsletter takes some time to put together.  
  • I do promo things – Then we have everything else. I’m on Queer Romance Ink and Limfic where I upload my books and information about them – adding the information about each book takes a lifetime. I write guest posts for other people’s blogs. And don’t get me started on making promo pictures. I love photoshop, I do, but if you think you throw together a promo pic in five minutes, you’re wrong. I don’t attend a lot of Facebook parties or parties of any kind, but they take time too.  

And lately I’ve been thinking that maybe it was stupid of me to quit twitter. I never understood it, but maybe I ‘should’ be on there. 

I probably do more things that I don’t remember now, so writing really is the little part of it all. Oh, and I guess we can say it’s part of the writing, but we have the work I do with my lovely beta readers, my editor for each story, and let’s not forget the work with the cover artist.

And I’m extra stupid because I decided to have a personality split so I do all of the above for two names *shakes head*

I love writing stories, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing them, but if you think writing is what an author spends the most time on, I’m sorry to disappoint. It also takes away a bit from the fantasy, doesn’t it?